Tuesday, 24 March 2009

And I Thought We'd Had It Bad!

Not a British Prison - Why Not?

Prison should be quite an easy place to keep secure but it would appear drugs misuse is rife inside. Of all places, being in jail should give an opportunity to offenders to get clean of their vices.

I've been to jail on visiting day to deal with allegations of passing illegal contraband. It's just so easy to do and I scratch my head wondering why we don't adopt the American system of no physical contact. A couple of prison guards try to cover the whole visiting time on CCTV but are fighting a losing battle. No doubt there's some human rights angle to this, but it's time to have designated drugs prisons, with more enhanced security. All the rehabilitation services could be concentrated on one site, giving an inmate a guaranteed chance to get clean. It might cost a little bit more but surely is worth it to break addictions and possibly the cycle of crime.

Of course it's not just visiting time that provides the opportunity. Packages thrown over the wall is a tried and tested method. My favourite was this one, where short of having a guard in a tower with a GPMG - you ain't going to win.

I've also heard of a case where a female turned up purporting to be a solicitor to interview an inmate. This was all organised in line with procedures. She was only rumbled when a sharp eyed warden recognised her from another establishment, and believed she'd used a different name. A finger scanner showed her up as bogus and she had lot's secreted, phones, drugs the business.

I imagine being a warder is a shitty job. Wings full of nasty bastards probing for a weakness at every opportunity. One of the jobs I attended involved an inmate I'd actually charged. A warden had seen something get passed to him and when they intervened he kicked off large, and it needed 10 staff to restrain him. We had to deal with the visitors, and there's always a woman present for some reason in these cases. The prison just bans visitors suspected of passing stuff unless they seize drugs. It didn't work in his case as I know months later his girlfriend was calling him up on his mobile.

Of course prison's are no longer places of punishment and one might suspect that the inmate's interests are not best served by ultra liberal policies imposed on prison staff. What is actually being done to tackle this drug epidemic in our secure prisons? or does it suit our government to turn a blind eye and appease the prison population?


Noddy said...

Wait a moment, what's this, the government getting tough?

Stressed Out Cop said...


Nice One

I've always wondered why smoking in jail is still allowed. It's still a workplace isn't it?

Hope you are well


Anonymous said...

As one of the many ex prison officersto leave the service for the met. i can say from first hand knowledge that the real reason that drugs are rife is down to the governors. Their promotions and career prospects are down to two factors:- 1). How pink and fluffy they can be to prisoners and meet performance targets no matter what.
2). How many times they can discipline staff! Because thats the best evidence of all for the next promotion.
Thats what happens when you have a two tier rank system and managers who tred on the saftey and human rights of law abiding staff for the rights and whims of prisoners

Dandelion said...

Yes. And also, what is being done to stop rape and bullying in prisons?

As for smoking in prisons, I think it's like mental hospitals, isn't it? It may be a place of work for the staff, but the inmates are being held against their will. It's a double-bind. I think you can't smoke in mental hospitals though.

Dandelion said...

ps Would that the police would have the same policy towards disciplining staff. At the moment, they get away with murder. Literally.

Anonymous said...

Most of the bullying in prison is done by inmate on inmate and there is policies and procedures to follow. Rape rarely happens in general population and in eight years service in a south West London jail there was only one incident. the most frightening cases of bullying were those conducted by senior management when they tried to implement their new regiems despite the lack of staff and its being contrary to security manual. the most bizarre experience I have encountered was in an inspection report from the INSPECTORATE THAT CRITIZED STAFF FOR COOKING BACON AND SAUSAGE SANDWHICHES WHEN FOR BREAKFAST wHEN INMATES HAD TO HAVE PREPARED BREACKFAST PACKS!The inspectorate also claimed falsely that we used inmates bread!!!! Only in this country could Prson officers could be critized for cooking their own food because it upset the inmates. By the way breakfast packs were introduced because the ols d fashioned way of serveing an halthy and nutrious breackfast took to long, the inmates could or would not get up in time for it!! Plus it ddid nit count as time out of cell or purposeful activity where as association where they bully each other organise drug deals and play pool is!!